Small hands a problem?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Shade13, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. Shade13


    Jun 20, 2008
    Would small hands be a problem in bass playing? I'm just starting. My hands I think are about 2 inches wide, from side of palm to the other side.
  2. bwv1013


    Mar 20, 2008
    southern cal
    having big hands can be a benefit in some cases, but IMO being a good bass player has more to do with good feel, good tone, and the right notes at the right time. no worries, just go for it! :cool:
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    No. Period.
  4. Shade13


    Jun 20, 2008
    Thank You
  5. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    This seems to be topic of the month at the moment. Small hands don't really matter if you have good technique. Anthony Jackson is said to have small hands, and I doubt you could see how it has ever disadvantaged him.
  6. crazyguy832


    Dec 17, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    My hands/fingers are smaller than average, but I can still stretch farther than a lot of guitarists I know (with average to large hands).

    Like mute said: so long as you have good technique, you shouldn't have any trouble.
  7. twistdpair

    twistdpair Endorsing Artist: Enzyte Male Enhancement Products

    Aug 28, 2007
    That is small...I have small hands - smaller than anyone I know - and they are probably closer to 4 inches.

    If they *really* are that small, I'd look into something like this

    unless you can afford a custom instrument.

    If you underestimated and your hands are like mine, you'll do fine - I use a 35" scale bass, generally. I often use forefinger and pinky to stretch 3 frets, which helps a lot.
  8. sublime0bass


    Aug 2, 2007
    Boone, NC
    no, victor wooten has rather small hands
  9. Sahm


    Dec 18, 2007
    Delaware, OH
    2 inches? Is that an accurate measurement, or are you estimating? I know everyone's knee-jerk reaction is to say "small hands, no problem", but if you're palm is actually 2 inches across, I'd consider looking into short scale basses. Looking at my measuring tape, 2 inches would be about the size of my 8-year old's hand, and she has difficulty on regular scale guitars, let alone bass!
  10. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Where there is a will there is a way.

    Andre Segovia the legendary classical guitarist had short stubby fingers that looked like ham hocks. There wasn't anything he couldn't play.

    You try the standard techniques and see if they work for you, if they don't then you adjust and find what works for you. All that matters is the end result your sound.
  11. Connor


    Jun 21, 2007
    nah, it's much more about flexibility than size. small hands also make the double thump technique just a little easier i think.
  12. Shade13


    Jun 20, 2008
    Its an estimate. My fingers are about 2.5 inches long. My entire hand from the wrist to the tip of my middle finger is 6 inches long. And the width of my palm not including the thumb is 2.9 inches long
  13. Shade13


    Jun 20, 2008
    So yeah, lol, I underestimated it the other time. But compared to kids my age (18) their hands are about double the size of mine.

    Oh, and if it helps, I plan on covering a lot of MUSE songs...
  14. Sahm


    Dec 18, 2007
    Delaware, OH
    Gotcha! I was more amazed at how folks were saying no problem to 2 inches across! I don't think they fully read the post.

    Now, at 2.9, you're still only in the 5th percentile for women's hands, and below the 1st percentile for men's hands:

    I'd still recommend a short scale bass to at least start out on. It'll give you a better chance of getting the right techniques down. Go with what's comfortable, because you want to be able to put in a lot time with the instrument.
  15. Shade13


    Jun 20, 2008
    I don't come off as a prick here. Would there be a problem if I just get a regular bass?

    My arms a long enough to hold a regular bass...
  16. Sahm


    Dec 18, 2007
    Delaware, OH
    It's nothing to do with arm length, it's about finger reach.
    The shorter scale would make it more comfortable for you to play with less shifting. I'm not saying it can't be done on a normal size bass- examples have been listed already of small handed players. I'm just saying, if you can come across a short scale bass- try it out.
  17. Shade13


    Jun 20, 2008
    Alright. Thank You for the help guys. Really appreciate it. I see how bass players stick together :D
  18. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    You know, every thread like this has the same old thing. Someone insisting almost that a short scale bass is the answer to having small hands. The scale length of a bass is not the issue. A short scale bass might be preferable to someone once they have got correct technique, but it IS NOT the answer to correcting technical issues. Bad technique on a long scale will be the same bad technique on a short scale.
  19. Martin Bormann

    Martin Bormann

    Sep 20, 2007
    You know why people even ask about their hand size is because they don't have an acceptable technique and so they're failing. I think what these people are doing is looking for some other reason to blame for their failure besides them self.

    As far as getting a smaller scale bass goes, after they pay for a smaller bass, they're still going to have the same "reach" problems because their technique is flawed. Except now, they're going to have the pleasure of pissing more money down the drain instead of accepting responsibility for their failure and either figure out how to overcome it or quit.

    Besides, small scale basses sound like **** anyways.
  20. Sahm


    Dec 18, 2007
    Delaware, OH
    The other problem is, folks don't read the details- or have such a trigger-happy reaction to the subject of small hands, they don't even try to measure out the sizes being discussed! For sure, if the OP's hand was 2 inches across, good technique wouldn't be enough. That's a half inch smaller than my 8 year old daughters hand, essentially infant size! Even at 2.9 inches, the corrected size, I still think a short scale neck would be more comfortable. I didn't say it' the only way to have proper technique. I'm talking about comfort, which leads to longer playing. And I'm also saying, as a beginner-to start off with. In other words, upgrade to regular scale after the technique's been honed on a more comfortable bass.

    It's done on the upright, that's why they have 1/2 size. The whole violin family does it that way too, for that matter.